From the stage, to the living room, to outdoor screenings, to fantasy, to the privacy of one’s own bedroom, dance animates physical life—but with what? Over the years since the pandemic, dance artists have had to negotiate how their work meshes with digital social systems in order to create new channels for audience engagement.
In his lecture jaamil olawale kosoko discuss the process of creating their 2020 performance suite, American Chameleon: The Living Installments, which operates as a hybrid multimedia living artwork that aims to hold grief while also centering themes of liveness, beauty, humor, care, and joy. The project, which has occurred across multiple interfaces including the gaming platform Discord, reflects an experiment in creating a flexible space where QTBIPOC+ voices feel comfortable thinking and speaking out loud; a virtual venue for biomythographic* liveness conjuring chameleonic possibility and entanglemen
In what is described as a flexible digital commons for organizers and practitioners who center adaptive interactive learning as a means of creating sustainable, multi-tiered networks of care, kosoko draws on research methods used in the fields of experimental dance/theater making, Black study, and queer theories of the body to see what the body can tell us about pressing contemporary socio-political issues.
*Biomythography refers to Audre Lorde’s foundational work entitled Zami: A New Spelling of My Name published in 1982, which combines history, biography, and myth, and holds a literary perspective that serves as a guiding light for complex narrative storytelling rooted in a queer, Black self-defined, feminist imagination.
jaamil olawale kosoko is a multi-spirited Nigerian American author, performance artist, and curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent originally from Detroit, MI. jaamil’s practice is conceptual, process-based, and interdisciplinary from within a corporeal modality. kosoko moves across the creative realms of live art performance, video, sculpture, and poetry using both cultural and academic idioms. As an educator and community organizer, they approach politics and education as extensions of their creative practice. Through rooted ritual and spiritual practice, embodied poetics, Black critical studies, and queer theories of the body, kosoko conjures and crafts perpetual modes of freedom, healing, and care when/where/however possible.
jaamil is the author of Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts, released Spring 2022 blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory as means to tell a personal narrative inspired by Audre Lords concept of the biomythography. kosoko is the recipient of awards including the 2022 Slamdance Jury Prize for Best Experimental Short film, 2021/22 MacDowell Fellowship, 2020 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 2020 NCCAkron Creative Administrative Fellowship, 2019 NPN Creation & Development Fund award, 2019 Red Bull Arts Fellowship, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellowship, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, 2018-20 New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency, 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellowship, and consecutive 2016-2020 USArtists International Awards from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. In Fall of 2020, jaamil was appointed the 3rd annual Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair at UCLA World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department. Additionally, jaamil lectures regularly at Princeton University, The University of the Arts in Stockholm, and Master Exerce, ICI-CCN in Montpellier, France.